Libertarian candidate for Senate files FEC complaint against CNN, Beto O'Rourke campaign
On Monday, the campaign for Neal Dikeman, the Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senator from Texas, filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission against CNN and Beto O'Rourke's campaign over a planned one-hour town hall to be held on Thursday.
The complaint describes a violation of Federal Election Campaign Act, alleging that because Republican Senator Ted Cruz declined to participate in CNN's proposed town hall with Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke, "the town hall debate can no longer qualify as a debate, which requires multiple candidates, and the planned format of an hour long prime time CNN promoted, hosted and moderated town hall with a single Senate candidate instead constitutes a prohibited political contribution to Beto for Texas."
Dikeman's complaint argues such coverage is "not part of a general pattern of campaign-related news account giving reasonably equal coverage to all opposing candidates in CNN’s national service area and therefore the market value of the coverage is either a reportable political expenditure or a prohibited political contribution by a corporation."
The Dikeman campaign estimates the value of CNN’s promotion, production and broadcast of the Oct. 18 town hall is $10 million.
"Politics should not be about money, and corporations should not be funding politicians," says Dikeman, “particularly in this race as Congressman O’Rourke is running fundraising campaigns touting his exclusion of special interest money. Excluding a Libertarian Nominee from the debates because you think I’ll take more votes from you than the other guys is one thing, politics is politics. But violating campaign finance laws, especially on this scale is much bigger than that. The scope of this violation should give every American pause."